(412) 275-3297 closings@palandtitles.com

Land Title FAQs


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What do title companies do?
Perform an extensive search (40-60 years) of the public records to determine if there are any adverse (against interest) claims to the subject real estate.

Research Buyers and Sellers to verify there are no judgments affecting title.

Coordinate with lenders, realtors, buyers, sellers and attorneys.

Order municipal lien letters, tax certs, ensure municipal requirements are met.

Prepare closing documents, such as settlement statements, closing disclosures, deeds, etc.

Collect, handle and disburse all funds relevant to the transaction.

Record documents such as deeds and mortgages after closing and issue a title insurance policy.

Is title insurance required?

If you are taking out a mortgage, odds are your lender will require you to purchase a lender’s title insurance policy to protect their lien position. While owner’s title insurance is not required it is highly recommended to provide you with protection on one of your biggest assets for as long as you own the property.

Plus, it’s good not know that Pennsylvania is a simultaneous issue state, so if you are required to purchase a loan policy, you can also get the owner’s policy for just the difference in cost between the two. In other words, you don’t have to pay the full premium for both. In these instances, typically, the adding the owner’s policy premium is a fraction of the price of the lender’s premium you are already paying.

FYI, Pennsylvania Land Titles is a title insurance company, so we are not able to close transactions unless a title insurance policy is being issued. So on cash transactions, we would require that an owner’s policy be purchased for us to handle the closing.

What are some issues that title insurance would likely protect against?
  • Improper execution of documents
  • Mistakes in recording or indexing legal documents
  • Forgeries and fraud
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs
  • Unpaid taxes and assessments
  • Unpaid judgments and liens
  • Unreleased mortgages
  • Mental incompetence of grantors on deed
  • Marketability of Title
  • “Legal Access” to and from the land, unless there is a specific exception
What are some issues that a basic title insurance policy would not protect against?
  • Zoning
  • Water, mineral, oil and gas rights
  • Title defects known to the Insured
  • Encroachments or boundary line disputes
  • which would be revealed by a survey

  • Unfiled mechanics liens
  • Parties in Possession (squatters, unrecorded leases)
  • Taxes or assessments not yet due or payable at the time of closing
  • Home repairs, pest infestations, mold, etc.
  • Stated Acreage
How is the cost for title insurance calculated?
Title Insurance Ratings Bureau of Pennsylvania (TIRBOP) – sets the rates for the title premium and endorsements that title underwriters in Pennsylvania must adhere to. The price is based on the purchase price and/or loan amount.
How fast can I close on my house once the agreement is signed?
How fast you can close often depends on the municipal requirements for the sale. If a dye test or occupancy inspection is required by the municipality, that is typically the number one hold up. Unforseen lender and title underwriting issues/requirements can also stall the process from time to time. We tell our customers to prepare for a 30 day close, but it is also not unusal for us to be ready in as little as two weeks.
How long does an actual real estate closing take when signing documents in person?
A real estate closing typically takes around 45 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the number of loan documents, the number of people that need to sign and time spent in review.
Does Pennsylvania Land Titles offer remote electronic signing?
In a lot of cases, closing documents can now be signed electronically. Sellers and cash purchases can now sign their documents from pretty much anywhere in the world online 24/7 via our Proof document signing portal. This includes meeting with a live notary over a secure online connection.

If you are a buyer and getting a mortgage, only a very few lenders will allow for you to sign all of your documents electronically as of 2024, and you will likely still need to sign some or all of the docs in person in front of a notary public.

What forms of ID are required for a real estate closing?
We require a current form of government photo ID for closing.

Some acceptable forms of identification include a valid drivers license, state ID, passport, military ID, firearms license. Always remember to verify your ID has not expired. Some lenders at settlement require two forms of ID, so it never hurts to double check before closing.

What forms of payment are accepted for "cash to close" on a real estate closing?
We require certified funds for closing in the form of a cashier’s check or a wire.

In some instances, where a small amount is due at closing, title companies will accept cash or a personal check. If sending a wire, always call a trusted number for the title company to verify wire instructions before sending. Wire fraud is an increasing concern in real estate transactions and you can never be too careful.

What is the difference between a basic owner’s policy and an enhanced owner’s policy?
An enhanced title insurance policy offers broader coverage compared to a basic policy. It includes additional protections such as coverage for certain pre-existing violations of subdivision laws, restrictive covenant violations, forced removal of structures due to lack of building permits, and other risks that may not be covered by a basic policy. The enhanced policy also protects against post policy forgeries. Arguably the best aspect of this policy is that the owner’s amount of coverage increases by 10% per year for the first 5 years the policy is issued. It is only available on a purchaser’s primary residence and on parcels of 5 acres or less.

Pennsylvania Land Titles strongly recommends this policy for those purchasing a primary residence. The premium cost is typically about 10% more than the basic premium.